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Archaeology/early human menstruation


What do you know about how early humans dealt with menstruation? I'm particularly interested in pragmatic concerns, but I suppose ritualistic behaviors would be interesting as well. I'd appreciate any knowledge you can share.

Hi Jenny,

An interesting question.  Most mammals have an estrus cycle meaning that they are fertile for a period of time each month or once per year and so one depending on the species.  Humans also have a similar cycle but can mate more often.  At the end of the estrus is mensruation.  Early humans may have been more sensitive to both.  But we have no archaeological evidence of this or a behavior of this in the archaeological record, as far as I am aware.  From a historical perspective there are stories, folk lore, "rules" that are to be followed and these are culturally based.  In the Bible, Quoran, and other religious texts it is discussed along with the rules concerning it.   In non-literary cultures there are explanations for it and what it means, how to deal with it etc...  How far back these "stories and rules" go is unknown.  But these would be the best source.

How it was viewed be early homosapiens however is not known.  Sorry.


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Ralph Salier


Archaeologist for the last 30 years. Norh American generalist and Hopwell culture/Red Ocher culture specifically. Lithics Expert and Ground Stone tools.


Past/Present clients
Numerous museums in US and Canada. Several University Anthropology Departments.

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